Pick 42 Foundation Providing Fresh Foods, Promoting Better Health In The Community

By Betsy Finklea
Providing fresh, locally grown food to the community and working to provide fitness activities and fun in an effort to promote better health are some of the things that the Pick 42 Foundation does.
Alicia Harrison Grice, president of the H2G Empire, and Miko Pickett and Terry Davis of the Pick 42 Foundation recently appeared at the Dillon City Council meeting to discuss the Change SC initiative.
Change SC is a new statewide initiative that “will connect South Carolinians living in food deserts with fresh, locally grown food while working to improve their eating habits and health outcomes,” according to a press release. The S.C. Department of Agriculture is working with the Pick 42 Foundation on a three-month pilot program that focuses on four Pee Dee region counties—Dillon, Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg, which are considered counties with high food insecurity rates, the press release said. The pilot program began November 1st. The Pick 42 Foundation runs Eat Local Pee Dee and is based in Mullins.
Miko Pickett, executive director of the Pick 42 Foundation, said they were one of 13 organizations receiving grants. The Pick 42 Foundation received $1 million to buy food from local farmers and give it away.
Every week, they distribute food to four counties. There are three sites in Dillon County—one in Latta at Highway 301 and Zelle Street at the home of Alicia Harrison Grice, one in Dillon at Great Expectations Church, and one in Lake View at the Lake View Community Center. The distribution at these sites is at 11:00 a.m. on Thursdays.
Project Director Terry Davis said in the four counties they serve they have 17 sites and 14 team leaders. Over 1600 families are served each week in the region. She said that they key to their success are the volunteers.
If the three-month pilot program is a success, they hope to do it another year. The program emphasizes the importance of access to fresh fruits and vegetables and the impact that they can have on one’s health.
One’s economic status does not matter. It is about providing access to fresh foods, which are sometimes not easily accessible. Fresh foods can also be expensive.
Harrison-Grice gave a personal account of how difficult it can be to access fresh, local foods and the expense involved in doing so.
A S.C. Department of Agriculture survey showed that “94 percent of rural South Carolinians understand that eating fresh, healthy fruits and veggies is somewhat to very important for their health, but the biggest barriers are price (60 percent) and availability (27 percent) in rural communities.”
The study also showed that “80 percent of South Carolina’s counties have food deserts.” Food deserts are areas where “residents without means have limited access to fresh, healthy food.” These “poor eating habits lead to health problems such as obesity and diabetes that, if left untreated, are deadly.” It notes that “obesity-related health spending alone costs the state $8.6 billion.”
In addition to their Eat Local Pee Dee project, the Pick 42 Foundation has five local community gardens and fitness programs such as Better Me for ages 55 and up. To learn more about the Pick 42 Foundation and their work, please visit their website, www.pick42 foundation. org.

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